So, I read a piece today from First Things about a recent homily from Pope Francis. In the homily, the Pope appears to promote universalism. Here's the quote:
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy...The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
In this homily the Pope make the excellent point that yes, all people should be doing good in the world and are able of doing good in the world. The truth of the Lord is written on our hearts as noted in Jeremiah when he describes the new covenant:
"Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days"--the LORD's declaration. "I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people."
Immediately after this, however, his homily appears to sound like universalism. "All are redeemed..." Mentioning of doing good works and "...we will meet one another there..." Is that a reference to Heaven or a reference to just where the good works are being completed? It's unclear to me.
All the Catholics I know are not universalists. Which is what makes the quote all the more confusing. If the Pope is preaching universalism, I hope he is rebuked. If he is not and the translation was poorly selected words, then I feel clarification is in order. Please, clarify below if you take the above quote differently. The writer at First Things seemed to imply this was a reference to non-believers gaining access to Heaven and referenced Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on the topic. Again, I hope this is an incorrect understanding.
I have rallied against universalism a few times on this blog. Here are some examples:
So, I ask you, my readers - is the Pope embracing universalism? Is this a poor translation of the Pope's words? Or is he getting at something else entirely which the people at First Things and myself misunderstood? Leave your thoughts below.
EDIT 5/24/2013 - David Perry from the Atlantic has reviewed the homily in Italian and English and came to the conclusion that the Pope did not call for universalism. You can read more here.
I haven't done a news roundup in a while, so I decided to do one today. First, let me say this up front - I'm not going to go into depth on the IRS, Benghazi, AP scandals. Why? Because people far more versed on the topics are talking in more detail about it than I. Check RedState, check FoxNews...follow these stories because they matter, but my focus is on different stories. So, let's talk about them.
- John Mark Harris, the Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church, wrote an excellent piece entitled, "How was the Bible Formed." I'm linking here to part 2, where he discusses the Old Testament. Check it out.
- Delegate Dwyer (R) was sentenced to 30 days in prison for his drunken boating incident from last year. He's appealing the decision. I stand by my call for him to resign.
- Delegate Wade Kach (R) has announced he's running in 2014 for Baltimore County Council. He'll be facing incumbent Councilman Todd Huff (R) for the seat. Kach, as I noted before, is a big hypocrite who simultaneously voted for gay marriage while co-sponsoring legislation to ban it outright in Maryland. On the other hand, I've called for Todd Huff to resign over his DUI. I don't regret that and I hope another, more formidable Republican shows up in this district.
- Mark Newgent from Red Maryland notes how in disarray the corrections department is. It's more than just a corruption problem as audit after audit of the department has shown over the years.
- Nearly 5,700 state employees make over $100,000 annually. That should seriously be capped.
- Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland wrote a piece which may have well been entitled, "John R. Leopold Will You Please Go, Now." I tend to agree with him on this one.
- Dave Miller of SBC Voices wrote a piece worth reading entitled, "Dr. Gosnell's Guilt, the Death Penalty, and Justice." Check it out.
- Do you like the classic video game Burger Time? Do you have a computer operating in Linux? You do! Then get Burger Space. Fun game.
- Thom Rainer wrote a piece for churches specifically discussing how it's important to start new small groups. Check it out.
- Baltimore County Councilman John Olszewski, Sr (D) failed to disclose information about his contracting job on an ethics form. He pledges to update the form, claiming it was an oversight. I have to ask - how does a man who's been serving in this post for 16 years "forget" to include information about his job on an ethics form? The claim doesn't add up to me.
- In case you missed it, here's my interview with 2014 GOP candidate for Congress David Banach (R-MD). He's in Maryland's 2nd Congressional district, which is my district.
- Okay, I'll make one comment on the AP scandal - this is outrageous and here's a link to Hot Air which when you read, you'll know why I say it's outrageous.
Did I miss any news? You bet. Talk about what I missed in the comments. Or, comment on what I posted.
I leave you with this, which is a picture of Congressman Darrell Issa (R) with Clifford the Big Red Dog. You're welcome.
Tedashii's "Make War" featuring Flame.
At the beginning of the track you hear a preacher talking about sin and war on sin. That's John Piper. Here's a link to the full audio of his sermon from his series on Romans 8. It's a good sermon, check it out.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day.
This is a difficult thing to say in today's society: "I'm a Creationist."
Considering my age (just under 30), my job (engineering consultant), education (BS, MS in Chemical Engineering), and Professional licensing (PE in Maryland) this isn't something many want to be public about. To be an engineer in the modern world and to believe in literal creation as described in Genesis is hard. To be anyone in our modern society and believe in a literal view of Genesis can get you mocked, insulted, or called an extremist.
I have many reasons to trust in the word of the Lord, not the least of which is the fact that it's the word of the Lord. Why would I doubt what I believe to be the literal word of God, God breathed material as written by the pens of various men throughout history. It has proven itself true time and again with prediction after prediction, truth after truth, and the amazing salvation it displays through the life of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Lord's word contains power, it reveals His power. I trust in the Word of the Lord which became flesh in Christ Jesus, my Lord and my Savior. Jesus is God. His truth is what I cling to and His truth includes a Creation story driven by our God who creates everything. If I trust in Him, if I trust in His truth, I should have the faith to trust in what He says about the creation of the world as true. Why would I pick and choose what to believe from the full counsel of God? You don't get to pick and choose - either it's all true or none of it's true. Period. I believe it all to be the literal word of the Lord, so I accept it in faith.
But, what of evolution?
First, I do not doubt that animals can adapt and change based on their surrounding conditions. This, in many ways, is the basics of evolution. I saw it in the laboratory when I forced E. coli to grow green fluorescent protein with a specific antibiotic resistant strain of DNA. Only those who had the strain survived, those without it died. Makes sense. What I do not believe is that one species transitions into another species. I do not believe one species becomes a superior species over time while the inferior species continuing to exist side by side. What's the point? If the point of evolution is for each new species to supplant / replace the previous with better genetic traits, why would the original survive? If we're descended from monkeys / apes, why do they continue to exist? It sounds like a silly question at it's face, but is it? Ask yourself this question - which takes more faith:
A benevolent God created the various species of Earth simultaneously over the course of a number of days
Species' transformed from one to the next over time, but competing inferior species continue to exist side by side with their superior evolutionary followup species.
If it's survival of the fittest, why do these inferior species continue to exist when the superior species has evolved? Maybe because there's more to it than that. Maybe, just maybe, we have an intelligent Creator who developed the species of the Earth and maybe evolution is a flawed theory.
What of carbon dating? Carbon dating appears accurate within the timespan we are able to document dates based on written historic evidence. Beyond that? It's all based on calibrations and estimations from very smart people using their own templates / theories on how to estimate. It's not based on definitive evidence, it's based on estimates. Educated estimates, but estimates nonetheless. It may be entirely right, but these curves could go into crazy shapes we don't fully understand at all instead. There's no way of knowing. Nature rarely follow clear linear paths when doing anything, so I ask, why would this be any different?
We have to accept the fact that those who believe in evolution have to do so with a bit of faith. They require faith in the theoretical science behind it. Not all of it is 100% provable. This is a fact. I can acknowledge what I believe requires faith - can evolutionists?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Image via Coventry Telegraph